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Christian Counseling - Make Me Happy Baby!

Most people deeply desire to be happy and to make others happy too. This is most evident in family life. Children want their parents to be happy and make efforts to cheer them up when they are down. Most parents will protect their children from anything that threatens their well-being and happiness. More often than wives I hear husbands express their longing to please their spouses and make them happy. However, these men frequently experience a sense of failure, guilt and angry because their efforts are not good enough or approved by their wives. Wives complain their spouses' efforts are somewhat inconsistent, lack a romantic touch or discordant with their love language. A fair amount of life conflict centers around the unmet need for happiness, which comes by way of things like peace, understanding, love, security, respect and acceptance. Why is another's happiness so important to so many, and who's responsible for one's happiness?


Out of a good heart a person wants to do good things for others and that person also wants to be treated similarly. Those possessing reasonable empathy understand how it feels to be in a world where happiness eludes them and, therefore, they take up the mantle of doing things to bless others. Beyond this is trouble. Some learned the role of caretaking in their growing up families and find extensive meaning and fulfillment and their self-worth in unreasonable giving to others to make everyone happy. Some of that sounds good, but underlying its thin, beautiful appearance is heartache that comes from assumptions, such as:

               I can make a person happy.
               I am responsible for other people's happiness.
              My spouse should make me happy.
               That's how one connects with and feels attached to people.

Reality is that we are not and cannot be responsible for the happiness of anyone but ourselves, as we don't possess the power or knowledge to do so. The moment we believe another's joy, happiness, peace, feeling loved, etc. is our responsibility is the moment that frustration, disappointment and guilt take control. Perfectionism, commonly accompanied by anxiety and depression, may also find a foothold in our psyche. And we increase the likelihood of the marital blame game for our felt unhappiness. The moment we believe someone else is responsible for our happiness is the moment we give up control over our life and become overly dependent on anothers for how we feel. In either of these two senarios, misery is sure to follow.

No one possesses the power to make others feel anything including happiness, although we can influence other's feelings. Happiness is not a object or gift we can give to another. Making ourselves happy is hard enough and something frequently we don't achieve, but it's impossible to make others happy. Happiness either exists within a person or it doesn't. Happiness is a state of mind, not just a feeling.

The world of feelings are not completely trustworthy, as they come and go and are affected by an infinite number of things (biology, night and day dreams, touch, past experiences, smell, beliefs, etc.). Therefore, a consistent and complete feeling of happiness is beyond every one's control. I believe we have the capacity to influence other's feelings, but not control them. To do so would mean we must override another's free will, something God will not do.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Xika wrote:
I read an itretesning article that happiness comes when you get lost in the moment and forget about yourself

02/07/2012 @ 1:18 AM

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